Things I Forgot to Remember

Institute History

  • 1990 Directors Lab


THINGS I FORGOT TO REMEMBER is a Caribbean-American comedy about a "transcultural," Robertico Martinez, who, through deep concentration and the magic of television, assimilates so completely that he has total amnesia about his Cuban past. As Robert Martin, an American "dreamboat," he is a food chemist, engaged to Morgan Bradford, the boss's daughter.

Definitely on the fast track, Robert is about to perfect the formula for a bologna "so unnaturally natural, even the yuppies will love it" when he eats a plate of black beans at a trendy Cuban restaurant. Extraordinarily, Robert is transformed, werewolf style, into Robertico Martinez, a short, dark, stereotypical Cuban with no clue to his origins except for the persistent internal voice of Robert, his American counterpart.

On Christmas Eve, Robertico collides with Roberto and Carmela Martinez, who insist he is their long-lost son. They take him home and produce irrefutable evidence of his lineage—home movies, family portraits, and a salsa trophy that he won in a dance contest. The Martinez home is full of fantastic surprises, which drive the desperate voice of Robert Martin over the edge and lock Robert and Robertico into a battle for control.

In his bedroom, an altar has been constructed from the broken TV set through which Carmela insists that Robertico left home. Robert gives up hope of ever reversing or regaining his American persona until salvation appears at a scream therapy class in the form of Maria Rodriguez. Maria is a Hispanic TV reporter desperately in need of a break-through story to salvage her career. She dubs Robertico a "transcultural"—an American trapped inside a Cuban body!" and the story takes the nation by storm.

This cultural comedy combines television, the American dream, and the "ordinary" miracles of everyday life to loosen hard and fast boundaries between the real and imaginary. For the characters, computers and witch doctors are on equal footing, and magical thinking provides the link between a ritualistic past and a technological future. Ranging from salsa and opera to tango and rock and roll, the film's musical score will incorporate the ethnic components and musical influences of Hispanic-American culture and accentuate a rhythm of comic chaos.

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